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Manchester United player undecided on country

BBC – Manchester United teenager Adnan Januzaj is not ready to make a decision on his international future, according to Belgium coach Marc Wilmots.

The 18 year old scored twice on his full debut as United came from behind to beat Sunderland 2-1 on Saturday Octoer 5th, 2013.

Uncapped Januzaj is eligible for the country of his birth, Belgium, as well as Albania, Turkey or Serbia.
But Wilmots said: “United told me that Januzaj has not made a decision to play for a national team yet.”

Januzaj, who was signed by the Premier League champions in 2011 from Belgian club Anderlecht for a reported fee of nearly £300,000, was born in Brussels.

However, he seems keen on keeping his options open, having not yet played internationally at any level.

Januzaj qualifies for Albania through his Kosovan-Albanian parents, Turkey through his grandparents and Serbia as Kosovo’s independence has not been recognised by the United Nations.

Kosovo’s national football team are not members of Uefa or Fifa.

“We gave a clear signal that we want him to play for Belgium and now it’s up to him. I will respect his choice,” added Wilmots.

England manager Roy Hodgson said on Match of the Day on Saturday that he had been keeping an eye on a player whom he described as a “real talent”.

The sport’s governing body Fifa states a player is eligible if “he has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant Association”.

That would mean Januzaj would have to wait until 2018 to represent England, assuming he remains in the country until he turns 23.

But the chances of the forward wearing the Three Lions appear slim with England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales having voluntarily agreed to opt out of the residency rule in 1993.

Instead, they have chosen to allow switches once a player has received five years’ education in one of the four countries before the age of 18, which reduces the chances of Januzaj playing for England unless the home nations change their stance.

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Wenger and Ramsey win monthly awards

Published on October 8, 2013 by in Arsenal, England, Europe

Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger and Aaron Ramsey have won September’s Barclays manager and player of the Month awards respectively.

This is 13th time manager Wenger has received the honour, with the league leaders having won all four of their matches during the month.

Arsene Wenger And Aaron Ramsey

Wales midfielder Ramsey, 22, scored four goals in those games.

The ex-Cardiff player found the net twice in the win over Sunderland and also scored against Stoke City and Swansea.

The double award marks a change in fortunes for the Gunners and, in particular, Arsene Wenger, who came under pressure from some fans at the start of the season.

The Frenchman’s future was questioned by the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust following the club’s 3-1 defeat by Aston Villa on the opening day, while the club’s lack of spending during the summer transfer window, up to that point, was also queried.

Arsenal eventually signed German midfielder Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for a club record fee of £42.4m.

They are currently top of the Premier League on goal difference and have a 100% record in this season’s Champions League after two games.

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Barca 4 – Atletico Madrid 1, Messi reaches 90 goals in 2012

Published on December 16, 2012 by in Barcelona, Spain

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Lionel Messi scored twice for his eighth straight start and reached 90 goals for the calendar year, leading Barcelona over second-place Atletico Madrid 4-1 in the Spanish league Sunday night and opening a 13-point lead over defending champion Real Madrid.

After Real Madrid stumbled to a 2-2 tie against Espanol earlier in the evening, Atletico Madrid went ahead in the 31st minute of the late game when Diego Costa stripped Messi of the ball in midfield and fed Radamel Falcao, who chipped goalkeeper Victor Valdes for his 17th league goal this season.

Adriano tied the score with a curling left-footed shot that went in off the crossbar in the 36th, and Sergio Busquets put Barcelona ahead in the 45th after Atletico failed to clear a corner kick. Messi scored in the 57th minute off a pass from Alexis Sanchez and then stole the ball from Diego Godin to score in the 88th.

The three-time FIFA player of the year already had broken the record of 85 goals in a year for club and country, set by Gerd Mueller of Bayern Munich in 1972. The Argentine forward, who has one game left in 2012, has 34 goals for Barcelona already this season, including 25 in the league.

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Corinthians beat Chelsea in World Club


Paolo Guerrero scored the only goal on 69 minutes when he reacted quickest to head home past three Blues players. Fernando Torres had a chance to force extra time but fired straight at Cassio with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Chelsea’s Gary Cahill, who also missed a good opportunity, was sent off after clashing with Emerson late in the game. Torres had the ball in the net with an injury-time header but his effort was ruled out for offside as Corinthians held on to win the trophy. Chelsea become the first team since 2006 to fail to win the Club World Cup after winning the Champions League.

Chelsea should have taken an early lead when a Juan Mata corner fell to Cahill and his header was blocked by Chicao, but the ball rebounded to the centre-half, whose shot was saved on the line. Corinthians, backed by 30,000 fans who had travelled to Yokohama, then had a good chance when Mata gifted the ball to Emerson. The Brazilian side had two attackers against two defenders but David Luiz, who returned to the back four after impressing in midfield in the 3-1 semi-final win against Mexican side Monterrey, showed his defensive qualities by ushering the midfielder out of play.

The South American side, who won the Copa Libertadores in July, created their best chance of the first half when Guerrero shot across goal and the ball reached Emerson, whose shot from a narrow angle hit the outside of the post. But, with Corinthians defending high up the pitch, Chelsea began to create more chances. Luiz, a boyhood Corinthians fan, wasted a free-kick in a good position after Eden Hazard had been fouled by Chicao.

A wonderful piece of creativity from Hazard, who chipped a perfect pass to cut out left-back Fabio Santos, gave Victor Moses a chance but the winger’s heavy first touch enabled central defender Paulo Andre to clear.

The chance appeared to have gone as he lost control but the ball fell to Danilo who cut inside and saw his shot loop up off Cahill before, despite Chelsea having three defenders on the line, Guerrero nodded home from five yards. Chelsea, who were eliminated from the Champions League earlier this month, brought on Oscar and Cesar Azpilicueta for Moses and Branislav Ivanovic as the Blues pushed for an equalizer.

Torres had a glorious chance to level when he had only Cassio to beat but could not take the opportunity. The Blues ended the game with 10 men after Cahill clashed with Emerson. They managed one final shot, Mata hitting the base of the post, but Corinthians, who won the trophy in 2000, become the first South American team to win the competition twice.

Frank Lampard, who was making his first Chelsea start since suffering a calf injury in a Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk on 23 October, played another intelligent pass, which Torres controlled on his knee before having his shot saved by Cassio.

The Corinthians goalkeeper then tipped wide a curling effort from Moses and also denied Mata as Chelsea pushed to become only the second English team to win the competition after Manchester United’s success in 2008. But Corinthians went ahead midway through the second half when Paulinho, who has been linked with a move to Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City, collected a pass and ran into the penalty area.

Out of the Champions League already, the Brazilians in the Chelsea team, Oscar, Ramires and David Luiz were devastated at the final whistle. This competition means plenty in their homeland.

A tearful Ramires had to be consoled by Chelsea’s glamorous doctor Eva Carneiro, while Luiz admitted he broke down too. “You can cry one night,” he said.

“Tomorrow is another day.”

Benitez now needs to pick up his men for the tricky trip to Leeds in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday. Lose that and he might find out sooner rather than later what 10 other managers have discovered under Abramovich – that it always ends in tears.

Club World Cup winners:

2000 – Corinthians (Brazil)
2005 – Sao Paulo (Brazil)
2006 – Internacional (Brazil)
2007 – AC Milan (Italy)
2008 – Manchester United (England)
2009 – Barcelona (Spain)
2010 – Inter Milan (Italy)
2011 – Barcelona (Spain)
2012 – Corinthians (Brazil)

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QPR secures first Premier League win over Fulham

Published on December 16, 2012 by in England

QUEENS Park Rangers (QPR) won in the Premier League for the first time this season, beating Fulham 2-1 at Loftus Road.
opened the scoring with a shot from 25 yards that flicked off defender Brede Hangeland. While the 23-year-old’s first owed much to luck, his sensational second saw him nonchalantly curl the ball into the net following a mazy run from midfield.

Mladen Petric’s deflected strike late on ensured a nervy climax for QPR. The victory was their first of the campaign at the 17th time of asking, halting a run of three consecutive draws since Harry Redknapp took charge in November following the dismissal of Mark Hughes. It also moves them above Reading and off the bottom of the table for the first time since 10 November.

QPR started the brighter and could have gone ahead in the second minute after recalled striker Djibril Cisse was put through on goal following a glorious through ball from Taarabt. The Frenchman’s scuffed shot was saved easily by Mark Schwarzer, though he had room to complain to referee Martin Atkinson after his progress was impeded by a pull-back from defender Aaron Hughes.

That chance failed to wake Fulham from their stupor and their dozy start should have been punished when John Arne Riise played a blind pass back to Schwarzer, but Jamie Mackie somehow contrived to place wide from six yards when it looked easier to score. A furious-looking Martin Jol watched on as his side’s lack of concentration was to blame again when Chris Baird felled Stephane Mbia just outside the area following a loose pass from Hughes, but Cisse and Taarabt wasted the resulting free-kick.

The Dutchman’s mood was not helped after the break when Fulham deservedly fell behind as Taarabt’s run went unchecked. He broke from deep and hit a tame shot that, luckily for the hosts, took a hefty deflection off Hangeland and trickled into the net past the stranded Schwarzer.

Soon after, the error-strewn Baird was caught in possession just outside his own penalty box, but his mistake went unpunished as Cisse curled his shot just past Schwarzer’s left post. Taarabt was continuing to light up a match which was devoid of much inspiration elsewhere, and his stunning second goal saw him push through the gigantic figure of Hangeland before playfully flicking the top of the ball to create the space to slide in an unstoppable shot along the ground with the outside of his boot.

Fulham had not provided any attacking threat as strikers Dimitar Berbatov and Hugo Rodallega struggled to replicate the form they showed in Monday night’s 2-1 victory against Newcastle United.

It was left to substitute Petric to finally find a way past Robert Green, his shot from outside the box looping off midfielder Alejandro Faurlin’s boot and beyond the keeper’s reach.

That moment of good fortune enticed the visitors to push on at the death, but they were unable to create an undeserved equaliser to deny QPR a vital three points.

Ashkan Dejagah played 18 minutes for Fulham in this match.

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Arsene Wenger turns to Bould

Published on May 10, 2012 by in Arsenal, England, Europe

Bould to take over as Wenger assistant‎


Steve Bould enjoyed a successful playing career and a spell as youth-team coach with Arsenal.

Arsenal have confirmed the appointment of Steve Bould as Arsène Wenger’s No2 after Pat Rice announced he is to retire at the end of the season, ending a 44-year association with the north London club.

Bould, who made 372 appearances and won three league titles at the heart of the Arsenal defence over an 11-year career at the club, will be promoted from his current position as a youth-team coach.

“Steve’s qualities are that he has the experience of the top-level game,” Wenger said of the 49‑year-old. “He has managed here, he knows our football philosophy and therefore there will be a continuity. We always want to give an advantage to people who know how we work, how we want to coach.”

The Arsenal manager praised Rice, a club stalwart of 528 games who had enjoyed a brief spell as caretaker manager between Bruce Rioch’s departure in 1996 and Wenger’s own appointment, for his contribution during the 64-year-old’s lengthy spell with the club. “It is difficult to measure his contribution, but he has just been tremendous,” the Frenchman said.

“Arsenal are privileged to have had him as a player, a captain and as a coach.

“It is important when you come from abroad to have an assistant who knows the culture of the club and the culture of the country. Pat knew Arsenal well. Nobody more than Pat Rice is a fighter. In every single game he is ready for a fight. He kicked me a few times during the games and I feel that in every single game he is ready to give absolutely everything – as a player or a coach – to win the game, and that is what you want.”

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Ajax wins Dutch league championship after beating Venlo

Published on May 3, 2012 by in Europe, Holland

َAjax Won Dutch League Title

Ajax retained its Dutch league title on Wednesday to win the championship for the 31st time, beating VVV-Venlo 2-0 from Siem de Jong’s double.

It was the 13th straight victory for Ajax, which led 1-0 when De Jong headed in Ismael Aissati’s cross in the eighth minute. De Jong doubled the lead with a low shot from inside the area from Aissati’s pass in the 57th.

Ajax holds a six-point advantage over second-place Feyenoord, which beat Heracles Almelo 4-1. There is one more round to play.

“It’s a crazy evening,” Ajax coach Frank de Boer said. “We were once 11 points behind PSV but we just remain focused and continued to believe in ourselves.”

Elsewhere, PSV Eindhoven thrashed ADO The Hague 5-0, ensuring its fight against Feyenoord for the Champions League spot will go into the final day of the season.

Ajax captain Jan Vertonghen, possibly playing his last match for the club after De Boer said the Belgium defender could move abroad next season, hit the goal-frame with a left-footed shot in the seventh minute.

He hit the crossbar again in the 12th, this time from a free kick.

“We had a good year,” said Vertonghen. “But it was a great team effort.”

Also Wednesday, SC Heerenveen ended FC Twente’s Champions League hopes with a 4-3 win, and AZ Alkmaar’s chances of a top-two finish also received a blow after a 1-1 draw at NEC Nijmegen.

In other games, it was: FC Groningen 1, NAC Breda 1; RKC Waalwijk 5, Roda JC 2; FC Utrecht 2, Vitesse Arnhem 2 and De Graafschap 2, Excelsior Rotterdam 2.

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Fiorentina fire coach Delio Rossi after his attacked player

Published on May 3, 2012 by in Europe, Italy

BBC – Fiorentina boss Delio Rossi has been sacked for physically attacking his own player in a spat over a substitution.
Fiorentina boss Delio Rossi attacked player

Ex-Manchester United triallist Adem Ljajic sarcastically applauded Rossi’s decision to replace him in Wednesday’s Serie A match against Novara. Rossi then clambered into the dug-out and aimed a punch at the forward.

Club president Andrea Della Valle dismissed Rossi after the match. Team manager Vincenzo Guerini will replace Rossi until the end of the season.

“I had to make this decision. No provocation justifies the reaction,” said Della Vale. “I’m sorry for the coach who is a good person and does not deserve it, but he committed a serious act. “In a few seconds months of stress came out. I am sorry because the coach has never committed acts of this kind.”

Fiorentina have also started internal disciplinary proceedings against Ljajic, while the Italian league have handed Rossi a three-month ban and fined the club £12,000 (15,000 euros) after supporters “ethnically insulted” the Serbian striker as he came off the pitch.

The incident came shortly before the half-hour mark after Fiorentina had slipped 2-0 down against the visitors, who are second bottom of Serie A.

The dramatic dismissal marks the end of Rossi’s six-month resign at Fiorentina. He replaced the fired Sinisa Mihajlovic in November but has struggled to turn the Viola’s season around.

The Tuscan club, who scored two second-half goals to draw the game, are 15th, six points above the drop zone. They travel to third-bottom Lecce on Saturday for their penultimate game of the season, where a point would secure safety from relegation to Serie B.

Manchester United had an agreement to sign, now 20, from Partizan Belgrade, but opted not to exercise the option in December 2009 citing expected difficulties securing a work permit. Rossi’s departure is the 19th coaching change in the Italian top-flight this season, beating the previous record of 15 changes in 1951-52.

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